Application of Geospatial Technologies in Higher Education: Promoting Interactive Experiential Learning

Authors: Amber Ignatius*, University of North Georgia
Topics: Geography Education, Physical Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: geospatial technology, higher education, pedagogy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8211, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Use of geospatial technology in higher education facilitates student engagement, promotes deeper understanding of material, and supports inquiry-based learning. However, technology must be applied strategically to generate optimal results. While use of web-based interactive modules and short video are constructive in curriculum, it is beneficial to combine this with exposure to hands-on, experimental, field-based technologies. Experiential learning with technology in the physical environment allows students to understand both the challenges and achievements of scientific investigation. This creates a more comprehensive understanding of science as an iterative process of experimentation and investigation and enrichens course material.

This paper explores the uniquely advantageous opportunity Geography educators have to combine classroom-based technology with field-based educational experiences. Classroom use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remotely Sensed data is increasingly accessible with abundant free educational resources. In addition, field-based use of technology can promote location awareness and spatial critical thinking with the use of GPS-based activities. GPS-based educational units also highlight the growing field of citizen science and can be designed as service-based learning opportunities. Use of highly affordable micro unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) demonstrates data collection procedures. In addition, exposure to Surveying techniques and the field of Geomatics highlights real-world applications of geographic technology. We discuss the use of geospatial technologies in introductory and advanced higher education courses and examine how technology can encourage access to scientific inquiry throughout the student population.

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